One of my favourite things to do in Cornwall is coastal walking. If the weather is on your side it really is the best way to spend a day. Here is my guide to walking the coastal path from Boscastle to Tintagel.
Why visit Cornwall
There are so many reasons why you need to visit Cornwall. But that’s a whole other blog post (if you don’t believe me check out these incredible images). If you are from the UK and have never visited Cornwall, or done any coastal walking then what are you waiting for? Jump in your car and head down the M5 right now!
There is a lovely walk close to Plymouth from Mount Edgecombe to Kingsand/ Cawsand. You can even carry on up to Whitsand Bay if you still have the energy. But today I decided to try somewhere new, so Boscastle to Tintagel it was.
A little about me
I have lived on the border of Devon and Cornwall for 13 years. If I’m honest I could have taken advantage of living in this incredible place a lot more. Once I had made the decision to leave, (to become a full-time traveller) I have decided do all of those things I’ve been saying I would do for the past 13 years. So here I am, and this is my first post about exploring Cornwall.
Steeped in history Boscastle was a medieval settlement that dates back to the Iron Age. In the 19th century, it became an important trading town, but it was more recently in 2004 when Boscastle became well known in the UK after a flash flood devastated the entire town. A multimillion-pound investment was made into its regeneration and it is now a much-loved tourist destination as well as a well-visited day trip for locals (like me).
I travelled there by car. You can get here by public transport but it is difficult. If it’s a weekend it’s even more difficult. So if possible, the car is your best bet. There is a local bus service ran by First Cornwall so you can check timetables etc ahead of time. The closest train station is Bodmin and you will need to get a bus from there. Be aware though the buses and trains aren’t the most reliable. They are often late or cancelled. Normally because a cow has wandered on to the tracks/ road…
When I arrived in Boscastle I parked in the car park (pay and display) and took a walk through the village. I decided to eat at The Riverside as it was quite early and everything was still shut. This looks like a nice place to fill up and kill some time. As it is also a B&B it was very busy with guests, when I did finally get served it was totally worth the wait. I ordered a full English with a pot of Earl Gray. The food was great and it gave me the fuel I needed for the day ahead!
Fed and watered, I walked back to the National Trust Visitor Center to find out what I, could see and do in Boscastle. I actually didn’t plan on walking the coastal path until I went in and spoke to the lovely (and very helpful) people who work in there. They suggested doing the coastal walk to Tintagel and getting the bus back (they even gave me a timetable and told me where to get the bus from!). I was advised to drive to Tintagel to park my car, (as it’s free) and then walk to Boscastle and get the bus back to my car. But I didn’t mind paying and I was keen to start my walk.
If you get the map from them (£1) the distance, time it takes and degree of difficulty are on the front. This walk was 5 miles, 3 hours and a moderate degree of difficult. It pointed out some of the sights I would have missed, or not know what to look for without it.
What to Pack and what to wear
This was an unplanned walk so I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked. I would advise taking plenty of water, and some snacks with you. The walk takes around 3-4 hours and even with my big breakfast I got peckish.
Dress appropriately for the weather. If you are in shorts and a vest top then make sure you wear sunscreen. I wore normal training shoes (sneakers) and they were fine. If it’s wet then I would advise hiking shoes/ boots or shoes with a good grip as my trainers wouldn’t have cut it grip wise. Lots of people had walking sticks, I didn’t miss them so this would be personal preference.
The walk was stunning! The weather was pretty perfect for walking: nice breeze, not too hot with a bit of light rain every now and again. The map was easy to follow and it gave some really clear reference points to keep me reassured I was heading in the right direction. I also passed plenty of other walkers, I even sat at the top on one cliff and chatted to a walker for about 15 minutes while we both had a quick water break. Even without a map, I think you would struggle to get lost on this track as it’s pretty well-marked.
It was mostly a pretty easy enjoyable walk, there were moments I felt ‘the burn’, but the breath-taking view you get at the top of a hill makes the pain of the climb so worth it.
One thing I would say doesn’t forget to keep looking behind you! Sometimes the view behind you is even more beautiful and you can become so focused on getting up the next hill you forget to stop and look around.
You will know you are close to Tintagel when you see King Arthur’s Castle/Hotel at the top of Smiths Cliff. Don’t do what I did and walk towards it (unless you specifically want to go there), walk around and down and you will see Tintagel haven and the remains of Tintagel Castle. The castle is under the guardianship of English Heritage and you do need to pay to enter. I’m a bit frightened of heights and the bridge put me off a bit so I admired it from a distance. I did, however, treat myself to a fish pie in the café there, though, which was the perfect end to my walk!
They offer tourists a drop off service back into the town for £2 if you are too tired to walk up the last hill. I decided to keep walking and headed up to the church before walking back down into the town.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to explore the town, as my bus was due, the next one wasn’t for over 2 hours (buses in Cornwall and Devon aren’t the most regular especially on a weekend).
As I still had a few hours of daylight left when I returned to my car I decided to take a drive down the coast to Padstow for a traditional Cornish Cream Tea before home. I love Padstow and have been there many times before (Normally after a leisurely bike ride along the Camel Trail).
It’s a lovely fishing town with some really quaint shops selling local produce. If you want good fish and chips and a Cornish cream tea in between shopping then Padstow is the perfect place.
This was such a fun day out for me and I can’t recommend walking the coastal paths in Cornwall enough.
Pick a place along the coast you like the look of. Head there in your car and go into the Visitor’s Center. They will give you all the information you need to know including safety and weather warnings for that day. It’s then best to drive to your destination and get the bus back.
Although I didn’t do this, I would next time. The buses aren’t very regular and there is a very real chance that you could not be able to get back if something happens to the buses. There aren’t many taxis either so can’t be relied upon. At least if you drive then bus to your starting place you can time it well. If you have a long wait go and find a nice local coffee shop to wait for the bus.